The vision, energy, and creativity of our chapter and regional leadership are nothing short of outstanding. These leaders’ ability to deliver superior educational programs and networking opportunities designed specifically for our members reflects the best of what TEI is: members working in the service of their colleagues and peers. Recognizing our chapters and regions as the engines of our growth lies at the core of our 2014–15 Chapter + 1 Strategy—visitations undertaken by our executive committee and regional vice presidents to participate in the broad range of chapter and regional meetings and conferences taking place this year. I am especially pleased to report that every member of my leadership team has committed to attend events in both their home and at least one additional chapter. Many, I am delighted to say, have committed to visit two or more.
Chapter + 1 Objectives
These visits help advance several objectives. First, they build closer and stronger connections between the Institute’s leadership and its membership, enhancing the channels of communication between Washington and our chapters and regions around the world. Second, they allow us to better understand what’s going on among our members, including new business issues, IRS enforcement and compliance trends, and membership needs and wants, to name a few. Third, they afford us the opportunity to help identify TEI’s future leadership, members interested in raising their hands to assume broader Institute responsibilities. This year, our coverage will approach 75 percent of the Institute’s chapters and every TEI region. When combined with the efforts of our staff, our chapter coverage rate will approach 90 percent.
Visit to Hawaiian Chapter
A couple of particular shout-outs: Thanks to Karen Miller (New England chapter), who included a visit to our Hawaii chapter as part of her winter vacation. In Honolulu, she met with chapter membership at Hawaii Pacific University, where Aileen Hara (Servco Pacific Inc.) and Mike Kam (Kamehameha Schools) led a meeting focused on gaining a better understanding of how to leverage national office meeting experience as well as speaker suggestions. Watch for further reports in Tax Executive about our Chapter + 1 Strategy.
Happy Anniversary to EMEA Chapter
In a few short weeks, we will be celebrating key milestones in the life of two of our chapters. In 2000, TEI chartered a chapter in Europe in an effort to expand the reach of TEI’s mission of education, networking, and advocacy to in-house tax professionals working there. Under the leadership of Bill Ramirez and others, TEI established our Europe chapter. In time, the chapter was renamed EMEA to reflect the scope of our membership base in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Over the ensuing 15 years, the chapter’s size and activity have grown significantly.
We are extremely proud of the efforts and progress to establish a presence in Europe, serve as the voice for in-house tax professionals, and extend the Institute’s brand. Notably, the EMEA chapter has worked closely with the membership, leadership, and staff of TEI’s Europe Direct and U.S. International Tax committees to spearhead our base erosion and profit-shifting advocacy efforts. In addition, the comments filed by the Europe Indirect Tax Committee regarding the new VAT taxing regime served as the basis for several European tax authorities to come to the United States to present the details of that new regime.
I am especially pleased to acknowledge our EMEA chapter and regional leaders who, over the years, have nurtured and sustained the chapters’ efforts, including current EMEA chapter President Rudolf Van Ooijen (see Member Profile in this issue). I am very much looking forward to extending my personal congratulations to the EMEA chapter when I visit with them at the spring meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2005, again, coincidentally, through the energy and leadership of Bill Ramirez (having been transferred by his company to Asia) and others, TEI stood up its Asia chapter. In its early years, the majority of the chapter’s membership was comprised of multinational rotationals and secondees working in the region.
Over the last 10 years, the composition of the chapter has shifted to a higher percentage of local professionals who have been educated and have commenced their careers in the region. The chapter’s educational, networking, and advocacy activities have recently exhibited a significant uptick, reflecting a greater demand for the services and value TEI has to offer. In particular, the chapter has expanded its scope more deeply into China, embarking on several very successful educational and networking events—with more to come. With the recent trend in China signaling greater receptivity toward the role and function of tax stakeholder organizations, the environment is extremely fertile for TEI to continue its growth there. I am very much looking forward to visiting the Asia chapter in the spring.
My few words here certainly do not do justice to recognize and thank the many scores of our members who have worked tirelessly to help nurture the growth of our presence in EMEA and Asia. On behalf of TEI, as these milestones approach, thank you for your energy and commitment.
TEI International President